Stakeholders invited to meet consultants and offer ideas
The Advisory Committee for the Frederick Douglass Park on the Tuckahoe invites all who are interested in the life and legacy of Frederick Douglass to attend a community meeting from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 24 at the park on Lewistown Road. Those who cannot attend in person may participate via Zoom.
“Last year, we applied for and received a grant from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority to create a master plan and an interpretive plan for the Frederick Douglass Park on the Tuckahoe,” Preston Peper, Talbot County parks and recreation director, said in a statement. “We’ve been working with our team of consultants for several months to gather information and set the stage for public input.
“If you’re interested in this project, this is a meeting you don’t want to miss,” Peper said. “We want to hear your opinions, your thoughts, and your dreams for the Frederick Douglass Park on the Tuckahoe. This is your opportunity to be heard.”
The official groundbreaking for the County-owned park was held on February 14, 2018, which was the 200th birthday of Talbot County native son Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, who later chose the name Frederick Douglass.
The park covers 107 acres on the Tuckahoe Creek just south of the town of Queen Anne in the northeast corner of Talbot County. A 66.96-acre parcel was purchased in 2006 with $1.8 million from Maryland Department of Natural Resources Program Open Space. The family of George C. and Naomi H. Moore donated another 40.2 acres of wetlands adjacent to this parcel in 2011.
The MHAA grant encourages Talbot County to engage members of the community and develop a plan for developing the infrastructure for a recreational park. In addition, it will identify places to tell the story of Frederick Douglass and to give more information about the Tuckahoe watershed and landscape.
In his first book, “The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,” Douglass writes, “I was born in Tuckahoe, near Hillsborough, and about twelve miles from Easton, in Talbot County, Maryland.” The Frederick Douglass Park on the Tuckahoe is located just upstream from the farm where Douglass was born in 1818.
Planning the Park
In September 2019, the Park Advisory Committee selected an interdisciplinary team of design professionals to design a plan for the park. LSG Landscape Architecture, The Design Minds, and Michael Marshall Design lead the dynamic and talented team. Other members include Clark-Azar Engineering, The Ottery Group, and Environmental Systems Analysis, Inc.
The winning team was selected for its interpretive design focus, multidisciplinary approach, and collective design strength. They are working together to create a destination that will connect contemporary visitors to a rich and vital heritage.
As part of the planning process, the team committed to a series of community meetings to generate input. The October 24 meeting is another opportunity for the community to hear from the consultants and to offer their own ideas for developing the park.
“Our goal is to create experiences that connect Frederick Douglass and his legacy with people today,” Michael Lesperance of The Design Minds said in a statement. “The best way we can do that is by listening to members of the community, to learn what matters to them. We want to know what about Douglass inspires people in Talbot County, and what they want the world to know about this remarkable American.”
Talbot County Council President Corey Pack could not agree more.
“The meeting on October 24 is a tremendous opportunity for the public to provide input on the future plans for the Frederick
Douglass Park on the Tuckahoe,” Pack said. “We hope citizens will join us and share their comments. Community input is essential to the development of plans for this park.”
The Park Advisory Committee
The work of the consultants is being managed by the Frederick Douglass Park on the Tuckahoe Advisory Committee. Late in 2018, the Talbot County Council appointed the committee, which consists of community leaders, in addition to county and state employees.
Kenneth Morris Jr., the great-great-great grandson of Frederick Douglass, is among those serving on the committee. Morris is the co-founder and president of the Atlanta-based nonprofit Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives (FDFI). Morris also serves as the chairman of the 16-member Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commission established by Congress.
Others on the committee include: Dale Glenwood Green, professor of Architecture and Historic Preservation at Morgan State University; County Manager Andy Hollis; Talbot County Parks Board representative Kim Kearns; local history researcher and preservationist Priscilla Bond Morris; Corey Pack, president of the Talbot County Council; Parks and Recreation Director
Preston Peper; Marci Ross, assistant director of tourism development for the Maryland Office of Tourism; Queen Anne town representative Mark Turner; and Cassandra Vanhooser, director of economic development and tourism for Talbot County.
In September, the county council appointed Harriette Lowery to fill her husband Eric’s position on the advisory committee after
his untimely death this year.
A link to the Zoom meeting can be found at talbotparks.org. Registration is required. For more information about this and other park projects, call the Talbot County Department of Parks and Recreation at 410-770-8050.